When the discussion of most slept on cds released in recent years arises, “Street Love” always pops into my mind. This is one cd that can be listened to from beginning to end with no skipping. When the family is going on a road trip, this is one cd that has been requested multiple times. “Street Love” also makes a great house party soundtrack. It’s a fun, age appropriate ride through modern r&b.
The cd includes excellent production by James “J Lack” Lackey, aka Usher’s younger brother on the track “Hazel” and the dance hit “Get It Shawty”. (more…)
Ok. So you’re back at work. The high of being off of work for most of the last two weeks has worn off as coworkers are already tap dancing on your last nerve. Never fear, Regina Belle’s heavily slept on cd “Lazy Afternoon” can soothe even the most savage beast.
Regina Belle has successfully tried her hand at jazz stylings in the past, but on “Lazy Afternoon”, she treats us to an entire album of her style of jazz. The title track invokes a feeling of exactly what the title infers, falling backwards gently into a soft hammock during perfect weather. “Lazy Afternoon” includes ad libs of the classic “Summertime”. You will be almost immediately cradled into a mellow, Sade-like vibe. “Fly Me to the Moon” is not only the remake that you would expect, but also melds beautifully into “What Are You Afraid Of?”.
The remake of the Isley Brother’s “For the Love of You” includes an intro of “The Love I Lost”. “Moanin’” has a “church” feel, in the vein of a jazzy version of “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”. The collection closes with a rendition of “Try a Little Tenderness” from a woman’s point of view.
Even if you are still on vacation (lucky you!), “Lazy Afternoon” is excellent music to have in the background while you are cleaning your house or while you are hosting your latest house party. The even better news is that a new copy of “Lazy Afternoon” is currently available for less than $6. Prices change regularly, so pick this one up today. I’m headed to Amazon to buy a third copy for my car.
I hope that you know by now that Grown Folks Music is not just about soul, r&b and the occasional rock track. We are all about music of any genre that we love, and no genre is more grown than jazz. Contrary to popular belief, jazz is actually a large genre with multiple sub categories.
One of the most talked about artists within the modern jazz subcategory is Mr. Jamie Cullum. Jamie is considered sort of a “wild child” in the jazz world. The smashed piano on the front of the cd cover was your first hint.
He first caught the attention of U.S. audiences when he covered Pharrell William’s “Frontin’” on his “Twentysomething” cd. Jamie continues this trend on “The Pursuit”, with a remake of Rihanna’s Michael Jackson sampled “Don’t Stop the Music”. Rihanna’s version is upbeat, but I am actually more partial to Jamie’s version. He adds sophistication with his arrangement of the party tune.
“The Pursuit” is one of those cds where you think you don’t know the tracks, and then you listen and realize that you’ve already heard a track or two somewhere- i.e. in a tv or radio commercial.
I can remember telling someone how much I liked this cd, and the person actually said to me, “Toni has something new out”?
Kids, that is the crux of our “Rewind Review” feature: focusing on great music that you may have missed amongst the shuffle.
Around the time this cd was released, Toni did a reality special with VH1. During the special, she expressed her frustration with her record label at the time over their refusal to promote the album due to the fact that- get this- she was pregnant. Of course we know that there is no way that a pregnant woman can travel to talk shows and music video shows and promote an album. Everyone knows that pregnant women are unable to sing until after 6 months after they have given birth.
I really, really miss this type of singing. Trey Lorenz has the type of voice that will make you remove your shoe and throw it across the room at the tv. Audiences were first introduced to Trey as Mariah Carey’s protege’ on Mariah’s amazing remake of the Jackson 5 classic “I’ll Be There”. From then on, we needed to hear more, and Trey’s response was 1992′s self titled disc.
The set opens with the hit single, “Someone to Hold”. This is the type of track that sounded good when it was initially released, but it sounds even better now- especially in this age in which you have to hunt to find good music on the radio. One of the things that I always say is, “If you’re going to do a remake, put your foot all of the way into that remake”. Thank God that Trey does just that on his remake of The Commodores “Just to Be Close to You”. Trey takes the classic tune and laces it with his multi-octave range. The result is remake gold.
The online “word of mouth” on “Honey I’m Home” was so excellent, so good in fact that I decided to pick up my own copy to see if the murmurings were true.
They were true. The overall vibe of the album is conducive for a late afternoon or evening just kicking back with your significant other.
As I often do, I read the track listing of “Honey I’m Home” prior to listening to all of the cd’s selections. I was pleasantly surprised with the track “I Love It! (Papi Aye, Aye, Aye). The title deceptively gives the feeling of an upbeat party song, but the track is pure quiet storm. “I’m Glad” has a bouncy beat that makes you want to crank up the volume as you cruise down the highway. I’ll admit, when I saw “Lady In My Life” in the track listing, I said out loud, “MJ’s “Lady In My Life””? That “Lady in My Life”?! Yes, that’s the one. As an MJ fan, I take any remakes of his music personally. I am proud to say that Al B. does a good job on covering the classic hit. “Dedicate My All” brings us back to Al B.’s signature sound. I could literally hear “Dedicate My All” easily included in a package with Al B.’s other hits like “Night and Day”. “Never Stop Loving You” has a futuristic, sonic sound that has Al B. reminiscing about lost love.
I give Hidden Beach credit for continually focusing on quality with regards to music. I am glad that Hidden Beach recognized that Al. B. Sure! still has plenty of great music to share with the world. I also give Al B. credit for not trying to “fit in” with current trends, but instead focusing on making good, solid high quality music.
Pick up “Honey I’m Home” at either Amazon or ITunes. Here’s the free, full listen for “I Love It! (Papi Aye, Aye, Aye) from Hidden Beach: